Apple removes Secret from Brazil's App Store following court ruling

Apple removes Secret from Brazil's App Store following court ruling

Apple has removed anonymous social network Secret from the Brazilian App Store, following a preliminary injunction by a court in the country. A Brazilian court ordered the app removed following a ruling that Secret was in violation of Brazil's free speech laws. While the removal from the store was part of the preliminary injunction, court has also asked Apple, along with Google and Microsoft, to remotely wipe the apps from user's phones.

From CenárioMT (translated):

In addition to determining the suspension of the application, the court also ruled that companies must also remotely remove those applications from smartphones of people who have already installed them. This was also a request from the MP-ES, signed into action by the prosecutor Marcelo Zenkner. The court has fixed fine of £20,000 for each day of noncompliance.

What do you think of Brazil's ruling? Let us know below in the comments.

Source: CenárioMT, via GigaOM

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Joseph Keller

News Writer for Mobile Nations. Fascinated by the ways that technology connects us.

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Reader comments

Apple removes Secret from Brazil's App Store following court ruling


How does the app violate their free speech laws? I would think blocking/deleting the app would be more of a violation.

Here in Brazil, there is free speech, but anonymity is forbidden. Since the app was used to spread lies, insults and intimate pictures (especially among teenagers), there came the decision.

We're in a kind of a limbo because the app was misused. I don't think removing the app remotely is the best decision, but there must be some boundary and liability.

We're still in the first years of this digital/mobile revolution, so things like this are supposed to happen until we find the best way.

As a Brazilian, I do not agree with that. This violates my rights and it's something like controlling what I see.

The real problem is that most of Brazilians don't know hot to make good use of things ( mmorpgs, social networks and Apps ), and Secrets was been used for nasty things like "Se this girl? With 100 hearts I will post naked pictures of her...".

I'll translate here, as best as I can, the main part of the ruling:

"Freedom of speech is not an absolute right, and there are several hypotheses where its exercise conflicts with other fundamental rights or collective rights assured by the constitution, and in such cases we shall evaluate the collective interests to ensure the preservation of the right to honor, privacy, equality and human dignity and even protection of children and teens, since there is no restriction to the use of the aforementioned apps."

It seems that the original issue was related to bullying and the lack of age restriction of Secret, but the overlaying issue is that Brazilian constitution assures the right of free speech, but not under anonymity, so the app was challenged in a state court and the decision had nationwide effect.

It is just amazing how technology is triggering the renegotiation of the boundaries between conflicting rights. In this case right to anonymity (not just privacy!) vs the right to free speech vs the right to prevent being lied to or lied about. I wonder where our society will lay down the new boundaries. Of the above three, I think the right to go about your life anonymously is the one that has lost the most ground in the face of the IT revolution. In fact I don't think people even thought about such a right until we started losing it thanks mainly to Google, Facebook, and the other cyber busybodies out there.

I do agree that anonimity has lost ground in the face of the IT revolution, but I think it was never really treated as a right, nor did we ever had it, not since governments and banks were invented. Even if we are totally offline we may have the illusion of leading anonymous lives, but having a bank account and using a credit card is enough to have your life totally exposed to whoever pays for that information. What need is tools and tougher regulation to deal with the lack of anonimity and identity theft.

If we get to publish the "secrets" or private details of any anonymous person, then they can publish our "anonymous" identity as well. It is a knife that cuts both ways, whether we like it or not. Freedom to express ideas anonymously is NOT the same thing as “freedom” to anonymously gossip about a private person. The latter is NOT a right. Libel and slander are illegal in Brazil, the U.S. and Canada, regardless of what technology is used. As North Americans we can all read about these matters going back as far as our common heritage in English Common Law. It is painfully obvious that these matters have been very WELL thought out, long before we were born. . . many of us just haven't been exposed to that discussion until it affected us when we started using a new technology. As far as the ruling goes, there are a lot of complex issues. So I leave that discussion to others for now. But to the philosophical implications: we cannot demand anonymity as a "right" and invade the anonymity of others at the same time. It is self-contradictory.